Feeling vulnerable and unsafe at night on campus is common for most students walking home, to and from their car, or even walking next door to pick up a coffee for some late night studying. The SafeTrek personal safety app, now available on Apple’s App Store for free, intends to create a solution for all students who feel unsafe, often or seldom, there is help available whenever they should need it.
“We started SafeTrek almost 2 years ago to solve the safety problem on campuses and have grown to over 300,000 users in the United States,” said creator of the app, Zach Winkler. “We're one of the only safety apps that actually connects users to the people who are best suited to provide assistance - the police. Other safety apps notify you friends and family members when you are in danger - neither can help you in an emergency.”
The app aims to connect users to the nearest police department available, after having activated his or her account. Once the account is activated and connected, the user’s route is able to be tracked by GPS to ensure that they travel in the safest way possible.
The app has created as an easy and simple connection to the police department in order to seek help or protection when needed. The app appears to be smooth to navigate for all users. In order to use the app correctly, he or she must turn on the app when feeling unsafe. Keeping his or her fingers on the screen until they arrive at a safe and sheltered destination will ensure the police department that all is okay.
If something abrupt or endangering should take place in the meantime, the user can simply lift his or her fingers off of the screen, which will notify the police that somebody is in danger. The police will be dispatched to the specific location if his or her predetermined pin number, is not entered within 10 seconds of the lifting of his or her finger.
“I think it is a good idea and definitely makes me feel more comfortable walking to and from the library at night,” said Sophomore Sara Citti. “I just don’t know that I would go through the effort of downloading the app and trying to learn how to navigate it. As a girl, I try to go places with friends at night anyways so I don’t think I would necessarily use the app.”
There are many unfortunate incidents that could occur while a student is simply walking home from class, a club meeting, or late night studying with a friend in the library.
Although a positive light is shed on this idea, I do not know how effective The SafeTrek app will be amongst students. Many campuses provide security, and extensive facilities that are open at late hours to ensure the safety of students.
Personally, I found the app to be clear and effortless, however, some would argue that it is unnecessary and does not enhance the safeness of being on campus. This being said solely because students are not likely to download this app. Students usually feel safe on their own campuses until something happens to them or somebody they know.
There are a select few students that will put in the effort to learn how to navigate the app in order to ensure their own safety, however, the vast majority of Sonoma State’s student body feels safe and have neglected to seek help options until they think they need to.